News Roundup for July 6, 2011

A Tennessee man was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the racially motivated killing of a public employee. Dale Mardis, 57, brutally killed Shelby County, Tenn., code enforcement officer Mickey Wright in April 2001 and recently confessed to an unsolved murder of a Baltimore doctor three years earlier.

Gary Thomas Kelley received 27.5 years in prison today for shooting his neighbor. The Phoenix man confronted Juan Varela, repeating a racial slur and telling him to “go back to Mexico” or he would die, before shooting Varela in the neck. Varela was a third-generation U.S. citizen. The week of the shooting had been marked by protests over Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 immigration law.

Police in Oswego, Ill., have charged a local man with a hate crime for beating a man over his sexual orientation. The victim was allegedly beaten by four men, including the charged suspect, while the group used slurs during the assault.